GREAT FALLS — Everyone loves a good camping trip, but many Great Falls residents and city officials want campers to be off the streets when not in use. It has been the subject of public comment for months.
The proposed “Large Vehicle Parking Ordinance” is designed to prohibit recreational vehicles like trailers and campers to be on the street and to change city code so that they can only be on the street temporarily, such as when someone returns from a camping trip and is unpacking.
With the proposed ordinance, campers in driveways are okay, but if it is out on the street, you could face a possible fine from the city if it is enacted.
The city has received numerous complaints about trailers and campers being left on streets and blocking drivers views mainly when turning and some residents have complaints of trailers who have not been moved in months.
Jerri Gertson is a Great Falls resident and has spoken to the City Commission about a trailer near her home that has not moved and could cause an issue if not addressed.
“He moves it about an inch or a foot at a time, back and forth, back and forth, and he never takes it anywhere… And I have talked to the police about it. They say that they’ve tried. They have ticketed him so many times and there is nothing they can do,” Gertson said at a commission meeting.
Deputy City Attorney Jeff Hindoien said during a commission work session that it is not a complicated ordinance but would take time to figure out all the logistics. “It’s not a particularly complicated ordinance from a legal perspective. The moving parts on this one will be with enforcement and how it pragmatically plays out on the ground,” Hindoien said.
It is unclear when the ordinance would go into effect as the process could take some time to sort out. The City Commission will continue to have discussions and hear public comments about the issue until they are ready to put it on the ballot.